Southeast Bulloch head football coach Steve Pennington has preached all year that his team’s goal was not to win a region title, or host a playoff game, but rather improve week to week and if they did that then the other things would fall in place.
A quick look at the Yellow Jackets' schedule will tell you that has to be considered mission accomplished. Southeast Bulloch did start the season with four straight losses but three of those four teams advance to the state playoffs with two of them being region champions.
As for their region schedule, after their loss to Jenkins they have reeled off six straight wins by an average margin of victory of 41-14. The Yellow Jackets' latest victory came in what amounted to a battle for a state playoff home game with Windsor Forest. The Knights were 7-2 and the game was expected to be a close one, but it was far from close.
Southeast Bulloch jumped out to a 7-0 lead, Windsor Forest responded to tie the game at 7-7, but the Yellow Jackets went on from there to outscore the Knights 41-6 for a final margin of victory of 48-13.
“It has been a process, each game has given our players more trust in what we are trying to teach,” said Southeast Bulloch head coach Steve Pennington, “Because of them believing in this process they are now enjoying the fruits of their labor.”
Leading the way once again for the Yellow Jackets was senior fullback Chase Walker who rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns, moving him past Herschel Walker into 10th place all-time career touchdown now with 89 for his career.
“That accomplishment is a testament to Chase’s effort and work ethic,” said Pennington, “It takes someone special to sustain that kind of excellence for four straight years.
Up next for the Yellow Jackets the opening round of the Class AAA playoffs as they host Pike County who earned the No. 3 seed out of Region 4-AAA. The Pirates come in ranked 10th in the state with a record of 7-3 overall and were 4-2 in region play. Their region includes third-ranked Peach County — who won the region — and Westside (Macon) which claimed the No. 2 seed.
Southeast Bulloch and Pike County are scheduled to square off at 7 p.m. Friday at Fred Shaver Field. Tickets will be $8 and can be purchased at the gate on game day or at Southeast Bulloch High School before 1 p.m. on Friday.
The Screven County Gamecocks regular season came down to a showdown between two undefeated teams, themselves and Jefferson County. Unfortunately this “showdown” was more like a “showcase” for the Gamecocks as they showed out, opening up a 37-7 lead after three quarters of play, and went on to knock off Jefferson County 44-20.
Jefferson County actually outgained Screven 400-232 in total yards including 250 yards passing, but the Gamecocks were more efficient, spreading out touchdowns among four different players in the victory.
Erick Roberson led the way 91 yards rushing on only five carries including one for a touchdown. Kim Hunter added 77 yards rushing and two touchdowns and CJ Wright had one score and 49 yards rushing. And while quarterback Armani Bunberry only had two yards passing and nine yards rushing, he did have an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
The Gamecocks will now host Washington County Saturday at 7:30 in Sylvania. The Golden Hawks earned the No. 4 seed after a mini play-in game Monday to settle a three-way tie in the Region 4-AAA standings. Washington County defeated Bleckley County, but lost to Southwest Macon who received the No. 3 seed.
Statesboro and Portal
The Statesboro Blue Devils and Portal Panthers wrapped up their seasons in two different ways last week. The Blue Devils ended on a sour note losing to region champion Wayne County 44-14, which was also their most lopsided loss of the season, as they finished the year with a record of 2-7. As for the Portal Panthers, they ended the season on a bright note with a 46-39 win over Treutlen County in a rare rematch as they lost to the Vikings 28-18 to open the season. In that game senior running back Craig Ware went over 1,000 yards for the season as he rushed for 245 yards and five touchdowns. Portal ends the year with a record of 2-8.